What Will Happen To My Pets If I Die?

dog_wheelchairNo one wants to think about death or disability. Of course, if you die, you are beyond the worry and care of everyday living. But we must consider those who we are leaving behind. Pets are the part of our family that we sometimes fail to make plans for. As I have gotten older, I am becoming more concerned with the well-being of my pets if something happens to me. Maybe I am more concerned than some, because I have many pets. I recently graduated from Paralegal school and am working in a law firm that is primarily focused on wills, estates, and guardianships. We have many elderly clients and it has become abundantly clear to me that few people really understand how to plan for the possibility that they may die unexpectedly or be physically or financially unable to care for their pets. The unfortunate thing is that pets are the ones who suffer when people fail to make the appropriate arrangements for their care.
If you are fortunate enough to have family members who are willing to take in your pets, remember to put something in writing, preferably in a will or trust. Make sure that the family member or friend is agreeable and able to take on the responsibility, not just trying to pacify you. If you are financially able, set up financial arrangements for your pet’s care. Contact your vet and inform them of your wishes. It is a good idea to give them copies of paperwork that involves the pet’s history and medical care. Most attorneys who handle Wills and Estates can help you with details and documents. There is a specialty of law called Animal Law. Someone who specializes should be able to help you, or can refer you. The North Carolina Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service to help you get the attorney that best suits your needs. Talk to your pet-loving friends and ask them what their plans are. You can really get some great feedback that way.
If you have the means, consider leaving money or property to a local rescue group or shelter. You can even set up a grant if you have the time and inclination. Many people give money to veterinary hospitals to care for pets in cases where clients run out of funds for their care. The vet in charge can choose who to give funds to based on criteria set by you and can account to your estate for the expenditure of funds. If your pet is a favorite at the vet hospital, put out feelers to the doctors and vet staff. You would be amazed at the networking in the veterinary community. I know of many cases in which veterinary staff ended up adopting client’s pets. I also know several doctors whose clients have left their pets to the doctor in their will.

What happens if you become disabled and have no family or friends to assist you with pet care? You may consider contacting a rescue group. Of course, the shelter is a option, but usually a poor one and your pet’s future will be uncertain. You may be able to find a temporary foster home until a more permanent “forever” home is available. Unfortunately, the options for pet care are almost always dependant on finances. It is still important to plan for the unthinkable. Do whatever you are able to. Even a shaky plan is better than no plan at all. I cannot advise anyone on how they need to plan, but I hope that I have put the seed in your mind and given you something to think seriously about. Whatever you decide to do, communicate it to your family and other loved ones, veterinary staff and doctors. Reach out to others. NETWORK, NETWORK,NETWORK! Don’t let the term “network” intimidate you. All networking means is that you talk to someone who knows someone who knows someone…on and on.
The internet is a vast source of knowledge and will allow you to educate yourself about the options available to you and it will allow you to reach people that you might not communicate with otherwise. Don’t forget to check out the chat rooms and forums. LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent social networking sites and I believe you will find some solution to your needs whatever they may be. Let me leave you with this final comment: There is a person or family for every pet. If you can let people know that you need assistance, someone will help you. I have discovered that people admire those who plan ahead, especially when they are trying to make sure their pets are cared for. If you can share your story, it will tug at someone’s heartstrings and you will be amazed at the results.
Thank you Marie Myatt for writing this article.
Marie is also a Four Paws pet sitter.

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Decorate Your Home, But Pet Owners Beware!

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Ornamental plants are a great way to dress up the house during the holidays. Pet owners should be aware however, that many of these common plants are poisonous to pets.
Toxicity ranges from mild to severe, and the amount of plant consumed determines how sick a pet may become. In general, gastrointestinal upset is the most common symptom, but if enough plant material is ingested, symptoms can be more severe and a veterinarian may need to be consulted. Naturally curious puppies and kittens are most often at greatest risk for plant poisonings.

Poinsettia Plant

Many people associate the Poinsettia plant with extreme toxicity, but this is not true. The sap of Poinsettias is considered to be mildly toxic, and may cause nausea or vomiting if ingested, but not death.

Mistletoe and Holly

A couple of holiday plants, specifically Mistletoe and Holly are considered to be moderately to severely toxic, and you should call your veterinarian or poison control center immediately for specific advice.

Lilies and Daffodils
Additionally, plant bulb kits featuring Amaryllis and other plants in the lily family, are popular gift items at this time of year. Pet owners should be aware that these plants are extremely toxic for cats, sometimes with severe symptoms. Daffodils are toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Christmas Tree
Don’t forget about the Christmas tree. Christmas trees are considered to be mildly toxic. The fir tree oils can be irritating to the mouth and stomach. The tree needles are not easily digested, possibly causing GI irritation. The amount of trouble depends on how much is consumed.

Stay Safe/ Watch Your Plants and Your Pets

Monitor your pet’s interest in the plants. To be 100% safe, do not bring toxic live plants into your home. If unsure about a plant, look it up to check for toxicity. Monitor your pet’s interest in eating plants, and place plants out of reach.

Choosing The Right Dog Breed For Your Home

puppiesAre you considering bringing a new dog into your home, but can’t decide which breed best suits you?

Here are some things you need to consider:

Size

What size dog are you looking for?

Pocket: Under 5 lbs.

Tiny: 5 to 12 lbs.

Miniature: 13 to 25 lbs.

Small: 26 to 39 lbs.

Medium: 40 to 59 lbs.
Large: 60 to 89 lbs.

Very large: 90 to 105 lbs.
Enormous: 105 lbs.

Space

The size of your home should be a large part of what type of dog you decide on.

Apartments or Condos are more suited for smaller breeds.

A home with a fenced in yard is ideal for larger breeds.

Activity Level

How much time do you have to devote to the exercising of your ‘Furry Friend’?

Dogs need to have plenty of daily outdoor time and exercise.

Be sure you are ready to put in the time.

Regular exercise can help prevent aggression, insecurities and boredom for dogs.

Coat Type and Length of Hair

What texture type and length are you looking for?  Straight, Wavy/ Wiry, Curly/Corded, Soft, Bristly or Silky?

What length do you want? Short, Medium, Long or Double Coated?

How much a dog sheds depends on the breed.

Care

Care for a dog requires regular Veterinarian visits, baths, nail trimming, teeth cleaning and extra grooming for some breeds.

These are higher maintenance and need to be combed daily and groomed on a regular basis.

Be sure you are ready to commit to the breeds requirements.

Children Appropriate

Is the dog “Kid Friendly” or are the Children “Dog Friendly”?

Some breeds are best suited for children above the age of 4.

Be sure to research the breed you are considering to make sure they are “Kid Friendly” if you have small children.

Reason for Getting Your Canine Friend?

Companionship for you?

Companionship for another pet?

Guard Dog?

Popularity of Breed?

Rescue?

Sociability

Are you looking for a breed that is more sociable or more independent?

Reviewing these points can help you make the best choice of dog breed for your family and situation.

We at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services are here for your dog walking and pet sitting needs.

Does Your Dog Have A Routine?

DSCN0372-copy-300x225Routine is a critical part in developing an obedient, stress-free dog.

Dogs need a structure to feel secure and to behave appropriately.

Knowing when they will be fed, walked and played with on a regular basis is key to making your dog feel more relaxed and secure.

Without routine your dog will not adapt well to life changes.

Some situations that could disrupt your dog’s routine and cause stress are:

  • Traveling
  • New Home/New Owner
  • Boredom
  • Your Absence
  • New Family Member or Visitor
  • Thunder/Fireworks/Loud Noises
  • New Pet
  • Environmental Changes

You can look to pet sitters to help with your dog’s routine when you can’t be there.

Pet sitters can come in and walk your dog and provide exercise as well as feed your dog on a timely basis when you have to work long hours.

Here are some ways you can help your dog in stressful situations:

  • Crate Trained. Once accustomed, a crate becomes a place your dog can always count on to feel safe in
  • Confinement. If you are having a gathering, or introducing new people into the home, confine your dog to one room where they have a bed or crate. This makes them feel safe, especially if they are territorial.
  • There are some new products out (Shirts) for dogs that have anxiety caused by loud noises. Examples: fireworks, thunder etc. These shirts wrap the dog as if they were being held and help them feel more secure. Some dogs react well to these products.

By maintaining the daily routine in your dog’s life and keeping them healthy, active, mentally stimulated and well fed, you will go a long way toward preventing or treating any stress they may encounter.

If you are in the Raleigh, NC area, we at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services offer mid day dog walks at a discounted price for 5 days a week.

We will be glad to help you keep your pets in a routine!

Give us a call. 919-388-7297 or Request Info

 

 

Are Your Pets Ready For Halloween?

Halloween often can be a stressful time for your pets.

The noise and commotion of  ‘Trick or Treaters”, the different costumes and a disruption in your pet’s daily schedule means that pet guardians need to take special care with their animals when preparing for Halloween festivities.

All pet owners who plan to hand out candy need to be sure that their dog or cat is secure as this is an opportunity for them to escape.

It is very important that all their pets are wearing collars with identification tags.

Is your pet micro chipped? If so, do you know the company and the chip #?

Candy should be kept out of a pet’s reach. Many types of candy, especially chocolate can be harmful to pets.

Jack O’lanterns can be fun and festive, but pet owners need to be careful, since a darting cat or dog can accidentally tip the pumpkins over and create a fire hazard or self-injury.

For pet owners who like to place dogs and cats in costumes, make sure the costume is not restrictive or overly annoying to a pet. Pet owners should also be careful of anything on a costume that dangles so a pet will not choke.

Halloween can be fun, but also dangerous for pets. Remember these helpful safety tips to keep your pets safe.

Going away and need a pet sitter? We provide loving, caring and safe pet sitting.

Give us a call at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services.

919-388-PAWS (7297)

Request Info and We will Book your FREE Consultation.

We cover Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Garner, NC

Reduce Costs Without Compromising Your Pet’s Health

veterinarianWe all love our four legged family members, but the costs of keeping them healthy can add up quickly.  You can significantly decrease your costs by using preventive measures and by making wise spending decisions.

  1. Neutering your pet decreases the risk of mammary or prostate cancer by almost 75%. Reproductive diseases are often life threatening and costly to treat. For example, a diagnostic workup and hospitalization for neutering and prostate surgery may cost $1,200 or more, considerably more than a routine neuter.
  2. Heartworms and intestinal worms are hard on your pet’s body-and your checkbook. So, avoid them by using monthly preventive. Most heartworm preventives offer protection from intestinal parasites too. Check with your veterinarian to see what preventive is most appropriate for your pet.
  3. Shop around for the best prices on pet medication. It may be convenient to buy medicines from your vet, but you may save money by asking for a prescription to take to your local pharmacy. You may also save money by buying fewer pills with stronger doses ( If the pill can be split appropriately). For example, if your dog takes a 25 mg pill twice daily, you may  save  by giving ½ of a scored 50 mg pill. Please note that splitting tablets is only effective if the contents are evenly distributed throughout them. Ask  your  vet or pharmacist to be sure.
  4. Don’t over feed your pets. Studies have shown that pets that eat less live longer and are better able to resist chronic diseases such as arthritis. Feed high quality food and you may be able to use less. Make sure that you inform your pet sitterof the proper amount of food that your pet should have while you are away. Do not forget to provide appropriate measuring cups.
  5. Don’t neglect grooming. If you keep your pet’s hair, nails, and anal glands in good shape, you will prevent broken nails, skin infections, and ruptured anal glands. Each of these conditions are easily prevented, but can be costly to treat.
  6. Bring your pets inside as much as possible, particularly cats as they are prone to being hit by car and having fight injuries. In addition, by spending more time with your pet, you can readily identify changes that may indicate illness or injury.
  7. Consider using a pet sitting service, rather than boarding.  Pet sitters tend to be less expensive than taking your pet to a boarding facility. In addition, your pet is not exposed to other potentially sick pets.  Did you know that pet sittingservices offer mid- day dog walks and overnight pet visits? For owners that work long hours, or who may need to take brief overnight trips, pet sittingservices offer a host of convenient options for the pet owner.

Going away and need a pet sitter?

Give us a call at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services.

(919) 388-7297  Register Now and we will call you to Book your FREE Consultation.

We cover Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Garner, NC

Canine Body Language

DogDid you know that a dog’s posture, facial expression and tail movements can communicate a number of different messages to other dogs and to humans .

As a pet owner, it is very important that you be able to correctly read your canine companion’s signals.

Here are some  common behaviors in dogs:

PLAYFUL: chest to ground, rear and tail high in the air, may bounce on rear legs.

FRIENDLY DOGS:  relaxed ears in down position, flat tails with lots of wagging and the dog makes eye contact without staring.

SUBMISSIVE AND FEARFUL DOGS: ears down, eyes averted and tail is tucked securely between their legs. They may roll over on their backs or urinate while lying down.

ASSERTIVE DOGS: erect ears and tail, staring eyes and tend to put their paws on other dog’s backs and may be pushy with humans.

TRULY AGGRESSIVE DOGS: stare and hold their tails motionless, growl and put their ears forward. Hair on neck and back may stand up. Eyes  are wide and staring,  and dog may curl lips to show teeth.

It is important to understand how your dog reacts to other pets, people and situations.

If you are planning to leave your pet’s care to a pet sitter while you are away, make sure that your pet sitter has an opportunity to meet your pet prior to the pet sitting visits so that the sitter has a chance to see your pet in his/her home environment with you present.

Make sure that you give the pet sitter as much information as you can about your pet.

The pet sitter should  be aware if your pet is fearful, aggressive, or an escape artist,

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If you have a new dog, or if you are dealing with someone else’s dog; it is wise to allow the dog to make the first move.

Never rush up to a dog you don’t know. Avoid loud noise or quick movements until you are comfortable that the dog is comfortable.

Ask the dog’s owner about the best way to approach him/her.

Never assume that all dogs like children.

Teach your kids to ask before they approach unknown dogs, and never leave young children alone with dogs, however nice the dog may be.

Health Insurance For Your Pet

If you have taken your pet to the veterinarian lately, you have probably thought about pet insurance. Unfortunately, the costs of medical treatment may be prohibitive which can lead to foregoing needed treatments or, worse, euthanasia. Pet insurance helps defray the cost of routine or unexpected expenses for pet health care. Most pet insurance plans require monthly premiums. Basic insurance will usually cover emergencies, lab work, medications and more. You may also purchase policies that cover routine health care and preventive medications, such as heartworm prevention. Many owners are now buying policies that have cancer coverage.

There are many different pet insurance companies and it is wise to shop around. Decide what coverage makes sense for your pet. Also consider what you can afford. Insurance cost is based on the age and health of the pet. Before you commit to a policy, make sure that you know exactly what is covered and what is not. Do your research. Call potential insurers and ask questions if you have them. Talk to your veterinary staff or pet sitter to see if they have recommendations.

Things to consider about pet insurance.

Will insurance premiums cost more than you usually spend on your pet annually?

Would it be smarter to deposit money in a pet savings account in case of illness?

Older animals, or those that have any history of illness, cost more to insure.

Most insurance plans require you to pay the vet when services are rendered, and later submit a form for reimbursement. You may not be reimbursed for all of your expenses.

Find out if you have to use a particular veterinarian or if your plan allows you to go to any facility.

Many insurance companies will give you a multi-pet discount.

Find out if plans cover pre-existing conditions, specialists, and behavior problems.

Inquire about how the insurance company treats common specific diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

If you choose to insure your pet, remember to leave the policy information with your pet sitting service.  In the event that the pet sitter needs to transport your pet to a veterinary hospital, it will be helpful for him/her to know what the insurance policy covers. In addition, the pet sitter may need to have certain documents signed by the doctor who sees your pet. Some vets may offer discounts for pets insured by certain companies. Based on the coverage that your insurance company offers, you may instruct the pet sitting service to have the vet include or exclude certain treatments.

If you are a pet owner who wants to be prepared in case of illness or injury, pet insurance could be a way to gain peace of mind. Many pet owners have found pet insurance to be valuable when the unexpected happens.

Guide To Joint Supplements

running-dogGood quality joint supplements are an important way to help maintain your pet’s flexibility and mobility, especially as aging occurs.

There are many supplements available.

How can you choose the right one for your pet’s particular needs?

You can start by reading below about the key ingredients to look for.

Next, talk to your veterinarian or pet care professional.

Consider your pet’s age and any particular health concerns such as hip dysplasia.

Remember that you don’t have to wait until bone and joint problems occur.

You can use supplements to prevent or alleviate bone and joint problems.

Weight is another important consideration with any bone and joint issues.

Weight loss will alleviate many joint problems.

Supplements support joint health as well as allowing some repair and lubrication of the joint to occur.

Here are the most common ingredients found in quality joint supplements:

* Glucosamine is the most widely known and most important supplements for joint health. It is composed of small molecules that are well absorbed by the body. It allows the body to make thick viscous joint fluid. This joint fluid cushions the ends of bones and allows them to glide smoothly over each other. The minimum recommended dosage for a 50 pound dog is 1,000 milligrams per day.

* Chondroitin is another important ingredient which is a component of cartilage. The molecules in        chondroitin are larger than glucosamine, so it is not absorbed by the body as readily as glucosamine.

* MSM has an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation causes the release of enzymes that break down the joint fluid that cushions joints. MSM prevents the destruction of joint fluid by these enzymes.

* Hylauronic acid is found in many joint supplements and is chemically similar to joint fluid. It is a large molecule like chondroitin and is not as easily absorbed as glucosamine.

* Herbs can be helpful for joint support. Some particularly helpful ones are: boswelia which stops the breakdown of joint fluid, cinnamon has a warming quality that can be helpful in cold weather. Others to consider are yucca, curcumin and corydalis.

* Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory as well. They have the additional benefit of helping skin and coat health.

Make sure that you buy high quality supplements from a reputable USA supplier.

Most supplements must be given for at least one month before positive results can be noted.

If you are going away and are using a pet sitter such as Four Paws Pet Sitting Services, we will be glad to give your pets their joint supplements.

Ideally, you should plan on a six month course to get the best effect from most supplements.

Remember that cats and dogs can benefit from joint supplements.

We at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services know how important your pets are to your family and we will take care of your pets as if they are our own.

Check out our services and give us a call today.  919-388-PAWS (7297)

Winterizing For Your Pet

dog_winterWinter can be a difficult time for pets and their owner.                                                                                                                                                           Ice, snow, and low temperatures present some special challenges for the pet owner.

It is important to ensure that the environment is safe for pets and their people. Here are some ideas to make the colder months safe and comfortable for you and your furry friends.

  • Avoid the salt that is used on sidewalks and roads as a de-icer. Protect your dog’s feet with boots or pad wax which protects paw pads from chemicals, salt and freezing pavement. As soon as you come inside, clean and dry your pet’s feet.
  • Watch for icy areas that you or your pet(s) can fall and injure yourselves on. Wear sturdy, non-slip shoes to maintain the best footing possible.
  • Never allow your pet to drink from puddles. The water may contain traces of antifreeze or other fatal or toxic chemicals. Puddles found in wooded areas may be contaminated by urine or feces from wild animals which may transmit disease or parasites such as giardia. It is a good idea to carry a water source for you and your pet on long walks.
  • Guard against hypothermia by limiting the time spent outdoors. If your dog or cat is shivering, bring it inside. If the pet is weak, dazed, or if its muscles are stiff, wrap the animal in a warm blanket or towel and seek veterinary attention immediately. Remember that smaller frame, old, or juvenile animals are more susceptible to hyperthermia.
  • After spending time outside, check exposed areas on your pet’s body, such as ears, for frostbite. Affected tissue looks less pink than usual and feels cold to the touch. Call your vet if you suspect a problem.
  • Adjust your pet’s diet accordingly. Animals that spend more time outdoors may need more calories to maintain body heat. Indoor animals that are sedentary will require less food in the winter.
  • If your dog, cat or livestock spends significant time outdoors, ensure that a dry shelter is available that is out of the wind. Also provide plenty of clean, thawed water at all times.
  • If you must be away from home during a period of intense cold, make sure that your pet-sitter has an ample supply of all food, medications, and supplies in the event that stores or veterinary hospitals are closed during your absence.  Leave instructions for emergency situations such as burst pipes.

The above suggestions should ensure that you and your pet are prepared for most winter situations. Stay warm!

Do you need a pet sitter while you are away at work for the day or on a trip? Call Four Paws Pet Sitting Services 919-388-PAWS (7297)

Check our Website out for Services we offer and visit our Sitters page!